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Menu Recommendations for dinner for 17 in Winter

My husband is graduating from grad school this December and we are having some of his family members fly in for the weekend to celebrate. It'll be a mixed crowd of foodies, non foodies and two kids. I'm looking for dishes that I can prepare ahead of time or that are relativly easy to prepare as the ceremony is in the afternoon and then everyone is coming to our house so I won't have much time in between. I was thinking of lasagna and salad with an antipasto starter but that is what I always do with big crowds so wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations.

Thanks!

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  1. Moosewood Lowfat Vegetarian Cooking has a great recipe for sweet potato and black bean burritos--I've also found a similar recipe online. I make it all the time when I'm having people over for a casual dinner--but could be dressed up. Meat eaters, foodies, kids, veggies, everyone loves it. I serve mine with homemade salsa and sour cream (fat free works well, even)... One note, don't use a food processor, use a potato masher, the end product will have a more interesting texture.

    1. I think lasagna is the way to go.

      1. what about a ham? Crowds tend to like a good glazed ham, and you could make scalloped potatoes in advance and just warm them after the ceremony. Serve with some brocoli or a nice green salad, and biscuits if you have time. That's a great winter crowd pleaser.

        1. I just made the most awesome cannaloni with ground turkey, and a mix of marinara and a white bechamel sauce. I made the turkey filling 2 days ahead and stuffed them the afternoon before serving. They were tender, and delicious, the sauce was outstanding and they baked up in about 40 mins. Needless to say they were gone, gone. The are perfect for a large party and I will do these for Christmas. I get a little tired of lasagne and the red sauce, this was much more delicate.

          1. Brisket, beef stew, veggie or meat chili.